Ice-T’s fourth studio album O.G. Original Gangster turned 29 earlier this month. On the song “M.V.P,” the veteran MC pays tribute to his predecessors and deems them “playas” in the most Ice-T way possible.
From Grandmaster Caz and Melle Mel to Big Daddy Kane and Whodini, the versatile legend lists off a stellar list of those who paved the way. So, it’s only natural he would support Swizz Beatz’s idea for a Hip Hop Founders Fund.
The seasoned producer threw out the idea during an Instagram Live conversation with Joe Budden during an episode of Beatz’s Zone Radio earlier this month.
“I want to raise a million dollars for each icon that started Hip Hop,” he said. “Kool Herc on down. The fact we’re not paying taxes on who started Hip Hop shows we don’t fucking really love Hip Hop. The fact that we don’t pay taxes as artists to those icons that paved the way, took the lower cut for the music that allow us to feed our family … fuck the government.
“We need to be paying taxes to the creatives of Hip Hop that gave us freedom of speech to move forward. I’m going to go so hard with that — Melle Mel, Grandmaster Flash and Sugar Hill Gang, minimum a million a piece.”
Ice believes the Hip Hop Founders Fund is possible — “with donations.”
“I’ve always looked out for people like Caz and Mel — those have been my friends,” he told HipHopDX in a recent interview. “I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t expect the young kids to be involved in it, but then you do have enough people like myself and Swizz and people who have been very successful, you know? There’s no retirement for rappers. There is nothing. A lot of them have fallen on hard times.
“I mean, if it was a fund, it wouldn’t be an individual person giving it to them. I think what they’d have to do is create a board of people — maybe like the Universal Hip Hop Museum — that would be able to handle the funds and get it out to people in need. I think that’s very honorable that Swizz Beatz would bring that up and say that.”
Upon hearing about the idea, LL Cool J immediately told Swizz he was on board. Ice just thinks the way the money is doled out needs to be very methodical.
“I think it’s cool,” he said of the notion. “I think it’s just very technical about who they feel deserves that. There’s so many people — and it goes back. Because what people don’t know is there’s like three … there’s a generation. The first generation of rap is unrecorded rap. It’s before records. So all the Hip Hop that happened in the streets, it was only on cassette tapes.
“That’s the first generation. By the time people heard Melle Mel, [Grandmaster Flash &] the Furious Five, Sugarhill Gang, Hip Hop was already a culture. So, how far do you go back? I mean, Run-DMC was like the first rap group to get paid.”
When Jimmy “Super Rhymes” Spicer is brought up, who passed away from advanced brain and lung cancer last September and needed a GoFundMe to initially fight it, Ice recognized the need for some type of insurance plan for artists.
“I think there should be some kind of an insurance plan something people can donate to,” he said. “See, certain people from that era are OK. Like, I’m OK, Chuck D’s OK. Russell [Simmons] is OK. JAY-Z’s OK. Puff’s OK. LL’s OK. There’s a lot of people that are OK, but a lot of people aren’t. It’s worth investigating. I would be part of it. I definitely would donate.”
Check back next week for Part III of HipHopDX’s exclusive interview with Ice-T and in the meantime, read Part I here.